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West Kentucky native wins award for opera singing

Blake Denson

A Paducah-born baritone recently hit a high note in his singing career. Blake Denson was recently named one of five winners of the 2022 George London Award for opera.

The singer won the award along with $10,000 after singing “Carlos, écoute” from Guiseppe Verdi’s grand opera “Don Carlos.” The 50th George London Foundation Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers was held in New York City at the Morgan Library and Museum.

Denson, 25, says he was proud to win the award because George London was one of the singers that inspired him to go into the artform. He says his faith in Christianity is a big motivator for him to sing.

“My number one inspiration for opera is that God has called me to it,” Denson says. “I believe that it is my calling. The reason I have been put on this earth is to use the influence that I have in opera to bring people to the Lord.”

Denson attended Tilghman Highschool in Paducah where he ran track and played in his school’s band as a drummer. He originally did not plan to become an opera singer until his junior year in high school at the Governor's School of the Arts, where he listened to the late Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

To view Denson's performance, go to the 1 hour and 15 minute mark:

Then, during his senior year, one of Denson’s teachers told him he had potential to become an opera singer. He would go on to audition at the University of Kentucky and receive a full ride on the school’s Alltech Vocal Scholarship.

Denson has won other awards for opera including the International Concurs Tenor Vinas Competition and The Dallas Opera National Vocal Competition multiple times.

He says his greatest supporters are his wife, family, coaches and manager. He says they helped propel him to the success he has accomplished. Denson plans to move to Hamburg, Germany where he will sign contracts with various opera houses throughout the world.

“I don’t really have ambitions,” Denson said. “But, I do have desires. My desire is to subdue, rule and dominate every area God calls me to. Right now God is trying to use me in opera.”

Denson says he loves where he is from in western Kentucky and he appreciates the support he has received from the community. He will return to Kentucky later this year to sing with the Paducah Symphony.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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